This books raises the spectre of a future where everything is controlled by the way of conditioning from embryonic stage. There is no concept of a family (terms like mother and father have become smut impolite terms) and the world has been divided into a caste system where the top guys (Alphas) have been given the best of embryonic treatment and are thus the masters of the system whereas Epsilons are the lowest of the low. It is a world which would be a Nazi and other imperialists’ fantasy – people are conditioned by chemistry from birth to accept their place in society, which coupled with progress in science has led to a situation wherein problem of rebellion has also been eradicated. The people in various strata of society have been given the minimum level of brain-power (except Alphas) and have been taught that their position and situation is the best that there can be. It is a world where stability and non-individualism is the motto. It is also a world where all kinds of pleasures are encouraged especially sexual which are aimed to numb the mind from doing any introspective thinking. History has been eradicated and you can only get books that conform to the dominant philosophy.
The book’s central point is the ‘Savage’, who is brought from a settlement (where people are living as they do today). His dilemma and his clash of ideology with the ‘civilized’ world is the central tenet of the book. It is as if through the savage, we are being put in that future world.
It is a good book but comparison to 1984 is inevitable and when you do that, the book suddenly does not seem as good. 1984 had a terrifying power in its vision and was complete in proclaiming the helplessness of any sort of rebellion – mass or individual. The characters in 1984 were complete in their wishes and their weaknesses. The world of 1984 was far far more nightmarish and terrifying than the world of this book. That said, it is clear that 1984 draws many of its themes from this book but improving upon them.
Overall, a good book to read but the talent of Huxley in this case was overshadowed by the genius of Orwell, in my opinion. But on its own, this book is complete in giving us a vision of a future where our own progress leads us to digging our own watertight grave…